Candlelight Nights

Candlelight Nights

Experience Christmas past with a candlelit stroll through our beautifully decorated gardens and historic houses, and be transported into the warm glow of the holidays. Come share your holiday wish list with Santa Claus and shop in the lively Holiday Market filled with local crafts, artist creations, and vintage holiday decor. Then explore each of the three historic houses to experience holiday traditions from the Civil War era, 1930s, and pioneer days. Timeless holiday music fills the air and interpreters bring characters from the pages of history to life at these historic homes.

Enjoy food for purchase and visit one of several cash bars for your favorite libation.

This special holiday program is $20 for adults; $15 for members; $10 for all children. 

Program Highlights


Ongoing Activities   

Holiday Market
Allen Atrium

Not done yet with your holiday shopping? Purchase special one-of-a-kind gifts from local artists and craftspeople.   


Mimi Bradberry, stained glass, glass ornaments, prints

Rachel Campbell, paintings, prints

Courtney Johnson, jewelry

Gina Kerlew, “Happy Art” stickers, magnets

Kat Moore, paintings, drawings 

Caleb Morris, printmaking

Julie Odom, photo transfers of Atlanta landmarks on wood

Yesha Panchal, pottery, ceramic jewelry

Mona Patel, housewares made from concrete

Gina Renay, crochet clothing

Kristen Replogle, faith-inspired paintings

Celena Schoen, pottery

Polly Sherrill, pottery  


Jimella’s Bakery

Normal Soap Company

Squirrel Brand Preserved Goods Co.

Santa’s Workshop  

Celebrate the Hispanic Christmas traditions of Nochebuena and Three Kings Day with bilingual stories, toys, and crafts! This is our last month to check out the award winning exhibition Nuevolution: Latinos in the New South.

Funding for Santa’s Workshop is provided by the Thalia and Michael C. Carlos Foundation.

Visit with Santa Claus
Santa’s Workshop

Ho-ho-ho! Grab your camera and get ready to photograph the family while your crew visits with Old Saint Nick.

Mama Koku’s Holiday Stories

Kennedy Theatre
5:45pm, 6:45pm and 7:45pm

Mama Koku helps us celebrate a diverse December with stories that highlight the traditions of Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa mixed in with a few winter tales that will leave you feeling warm inside.    

Reindeer Games with Aurora Theatre
7:00pm & 8:00pm

Aurora Theatre produces more than 800 events each year for guests of all ages and tastes. With the Lawrenceville troupe’s Reindeer Games, talented performers engage guests in amusing, interactive improv comedy and sing joyful holiday tunes. 

All Aboard!
Rollins Gallery
6:00pm, 7:00pm and 8:00pm

Enjoy a special holiday story at our newly restored Texas Locomotive and become immersed in the spirit of the holidays as your board a train to the North Pole!

Nate Barker, Meet the Past Museum Theatre Performance
Turning Point
6:30pm, 7:30pm, 8:30pm

Journey through our Turning Point: The American Civil War exhibition and encounter Union soldier Nate Baker. As a visitor you will become a new recruit in the African American 54th Regiment as Barker shares with you his person hopes for the future and the challenges you regiment for the challenges you will encounter in the Civil War during the holiday season of 1863.


Jim N’ Nicks Food for sale!  

Paint an Ornament, Sachets, & Salt-dough ornament activities!


Overlook Ballroom
6:15pm, 7:15pm, 8:15pm

Enjoy Atlanta’s favorite female a cappella singing group performing holiday favorites. Octave was founded in 1996 and since then has grown and changed its membership, and each new addition has added something amazing to the group. Their members are teachers, writers, executives, pharmacists, athletes, dancers, grammar geeks, attorneys, and mom—all brought together for great music, great friendships, and great fun.


Travel to Christmastime during the Civil War and be welcomed into the holiday traditions on Smith Farm. Encounter characters from 1861, and participate in traditional crafts and activities as you help them decorate for a very special Christmas. 

Timed Activities

1861 Christmas tree lighting
Front yard
6:00pm, 7:00pm, 8:00pm, 9:00pm  

The sounds of caroling greet you as you gather round to light the candles on the Christmas tree.

Behind the Scenes: A Christmas Feast
Smith Farm Kitchen
7:15pm, 8:15pm, 9:15pm

Learn about the special Christmas dinner being cooked for the Smith family and see open hearth demonstrations of traditional Civil War era delicacies.

The Yule Log
Enslaved People’s Cabin
6:00pm, 7:30pm, 8:30pm, 9:30pm 

Listen to stories and songs by the fire as the enslaved community celebrates Christmas and hopes for the end of slavery. Afterward, visit with interpreters as they discuss resistance and the history of holidays for the enslaved.

Stephen, Meet the Past Museum Theatre Performance
Slave Cabin Porch
6:45pm, 7:45pm, 8:45pm 

Meet Stephen, an enslaved woodworker who must face a crucial decision regarding his future and that of his family during the holiday season. This decision will impact the lives of those closest to him, for better or worse.

Ongoing Activities  

  • Popcorn and garland making
  • Candle-dipping
  • Blacksmithing
  • Open-hearth cooking


Revel in the holiday season of 1930 as you are transported to a Jazz Age Christmas party at the lavishly decorated Swan House while the Inman family and their staff celebrates Christmas.

Timed Activities

Holiday Tunes and Sing-Along Carols
Green Room and Grand Foyer
6:15pm, 7:15pm, 8:15pm, and 9:15pm  

Join Swan House interpreter Chelsea Carboni for a performance in the Green Room followed by a fun sing-along for everyone in the Grand Foyer.

Joe Gransden Trio
6:30pm, 7:30pm, 8:30pm

Step back in time with the Joe Gransden trio as they perform old standards of the holidays.

Joe Gransden has performed worldwide and released 14 CDs under his own name. Renowned first for the hard bop approach of his trumpet, Gransden’s singing voice has been compared to that of Chet Baker and Frank Sinatra.

Ongoing Activities

  • Make a 1930s Holiday Postcard— Create your own holiday postcards in the grandchildren’s room to send to your family and friends.
  • Get ready for the Inman holiday party by making a fun headband— either for yourself or as a gift!


Stop at our bonfire and enjoy some cider and s’mores!

Atlanta Sacred Harp Singers
7:00pm & 8:00pm  

The Atlanta Sacred Harp Singers are a group who perform historic a cappella shapenote hymns from The Sacred Harp, a collection of hymns first published in Georgia in 1844. Their performances entertain and inspire listeners through the active tradition of community sacred singing, which originated in early 19th century Georgia.


Souper Jenny will be serving up her famous soups and salads. Jim N’ Nicks is serving up barbecue plates in the Overlook Ballroom.

Cash bars are located throughout the campus for some holiday cheer!

Get Tickets